tv Nightly Business Report PBS June 12, 2014 1:00am-1:31am PDT
. this is "nightly business report" with tyler mathisen and susie grigg. >> triple digit decline. the dow drops as the world bank warns global growth will be slow. but are americans more upbeat about the u.s. economy. stunning defeat. eric cantor will step down as majority leader after a shocking primary loss. big business loses a friend in the house. and uber uproar. why a popular app with a possible multibillion dollar valuation is causing traffic to come to a stand still in some of the world biggest cities. all that and more tonight on "nightly business report," for wednesday, june 11. good evening, everyone. and welcome. a warning today from the world bank. global growth is slowing. economies everywhere are still reeling from the crisis in ukraine, and the brutal winter
here in the u.s., with indications the recovery will be delayed. and that changed investors' course today after a string of market records today. they sold stocks. but that probably wasn't the only thing that pressured the major averages. there was weakness in the transports and wall street is still digesting majority leader eric cantor's defeat in a primary last night. by the close, the dow fell 102 points, the nasdaq dipped 6, and the s&p was off about 7 points. but by -- while world bank downgrades, the outlook for global growth, steve liesman says many here in the united states are more upbeat about the economy. >> reporter: slowly, americans are clawing back some of the optimism they lost during the great recession and the tepid recovery. the cnbc all-america economic survey for june shows the percent of americans who say the current state of the economy is poor, this after seven long years and a surge to 70% at the height of the financial crisis,
it's now fallen back to its prerecession level of 33%. more than a third will r expecting an increase in wages, the best since 2008. and the percent of americans looking for an increase in home values hit its second best level since the recession. better home values and wage gains. what's not to like? the expected increases are muted compared to how optimistic americans used to be. for example, before the crisis, americans regularly expected wage gains of 5 to 7% a year. now it's a good number when it's 3.5%. and while fewer americans think the economy is poor, they don't really think it's as good as it was before the crisis. the survey that was in line with other data showing a return to prerecession levels for things like the total number of jobs in the nation and the steady march backup, small business optimism and other consumer confidence surveys. the bottom line may be this. americans don't see the economy as bad as it was, but their optimism is taking what looks to be a permanent hit. there is one good sign. americans plan to spend as much this year on summer vacation as
they did, you guessed it, before the recession. so they still know how to enjoy themselves. for "nightly business report," i'm steve liesman. >> investors were also watching political events and the surprising defeat of house majority leader eric cantor in his republican primary. he'll step down as house leader on july 31st. now, the defeat is believed to threaten congressional reauthorization of low-cost lending through the export/import bank. many businesses count on that financing for exporting goods to international markets. one analyst cited boeing as a big loser in this. boeing shares fell almost 2.5%, making the aerospace giant the worst in the stock today. and other business communities they're now concerned about, as well. john harwood joins us now from washington to tell us about all of that. let's begin with just why does cantor's loss matter so much to american businesses and wall street as well? >> well, susie, eric cantor was
a very ksht -- or is a very conservative member of congress. but he was also seen as one who balanced some of the zeal for conservative principles with a pro business tilt. he liked wall street, and wall street liked him. wall street was one of his biggest sources of funds. on crucial fights, ranging from things like the xm bank, things like the reauthorization of the commodities future trading commission, things like government shutdown, he was seen in the end as somebody who was going to make sure that catastrophe didn't happen. that is still likely the case, because john boehner is somebody like that, as well. but this may make a difference on the margins. >> what would this mean, specifically, for that export/import bank reauthorization, and others that you just mentioned here? and wouldn't the individual who is likely to succeed him, mr. brat, go along with these things, or would he not? >> well, the issue isn't mr. brat. he's going to be just one member. it's going to be the house republican leadership team and what they can get their rank and file to do. the problem, of course, is that
that rank and file is scared to death in the wake of this election result. so i would think that both kevin mccarthy, who is likely to succeed eric cantor as republican leader and speaker boehner would try to win the reauthorization of the xm bank, but it becomes more difficult now that cantor is not there. >> and, you know, john, when this news came out today, there were all sorts of things that appeared on the worry list. you mentioned one of them. government shutdown, debt ceiling debate. even people were talking about what this means for the credit rating for u.s. -- u.s. debt. should we really be worried about those things? >> possibility. we don't know for sure. the next debt limit runs out in early 2015, and that's going to be the initial test of this new leadership team's ability now that the tea party has gotten a second wind. >> all right, john harwood, thanks very much. interesting story today in washington and virginia. also, in washington, legislation that would have allowed people to refinance their student loans was blocked in the senate. the vote fell short of the 60
needed to advance the debate. the measure would have let millions of borrowers, many with loan rates topping 7% refinance at lower costs. general motors' ceo is heading back to washington. mary barra will testify before congress next week about the defective ignition switch that went for a decade. also testifying, former u.s. attorney, anton vil lucas, a report on the delayed recall. lawmakers could have a lot of questions about that. the last time barra testified, she refused to answer some questions until the vil lucas report was complete. jpmorgan may be close to cutting compensation and reducing jobs in its investment banks. speaking at an investment conference, the chief financial officer didn't give a time frame, but said it was a possibility if trading revenue doesn't bounce back. last month, jpmorgan warned its second quarter fixed income and equities trading would probably drop 20% from just a year ago.
speaking of banks, talks between bank of america and the justice department have hit a snag. as we have been reporting, the two have been negotiating a multibillion dollar settlement over the bank's mortgage investments. but now, according to the "new york times," the talks stalled after the banks offered to pay about $12 billion didn't satisfy prosecutors. they face numerous investigations into the securitization of mortgage bonds before the financial crisis. enter national events are also grabbing investors' attention. nato ambassadors had a meeting to discuss the security situation in iraq, where militants took 80 turkish citizens hostage. meanwhile, in vienna, where the members of the organization of petroleum exporting countries, opec, were meeting, iraq's oil minister said he did not expect the violence in the north to spread to the country's oil-producing south. today, crude providices finishe with a gain of 5 cents to
$104.40. steve sedgewick has more on the opec meeting from vienna. >> reporter: here in vienna, ministers decided to leave production levels unchanged at 30 million barrels a day, roughly 40% of global oil supply. they did that because prices appear to be in some form of equilibrium with the supply and demand dynamics finally tuned at the moment. the provides opec is getting is around $108 a barrel. and they're happy with that price, as well. but there are concerns on a country by country basis. iraq has an insurgency on its hands, protests in libya means their production outfit is a fraction of what it could be. nigeria has issues and iran. iran, of course, looking to have the end of sanctions regarding its nuclear program so it can export as many barrels as indeed it hopes it can going forward. now, there are other issues, including the role of mr. el band re will continue in that role until the middle of 2015, after replacement -- there just wasn't one because we couldn't get a consensus amongst
mechanics. this is steve sedgewick in vienna. china is ramping up spending. it's planning big infrastructure projects, including highways, rail networks and oil and gas storage and distribution centers in an effort to energize the world's second-largest economy. china grew at its slowest pace in 18 months in the first quarter, and analysts say the asian nation could likely announce more stimulative measures. big american companies with exposure to china are hoping the stimulus measures work and get consumers in that country spending again, because they have a lot at stake if spending continues to slow over there. sara eisen explains. >> reporter: add this to the laundry list of worries for corporate america right now. the chinese consumer is slowing down. >> see less investment growth, less credit growth, ask that's passing through to less income growth, particularly for households that own businesses. >> reporter: watch for retail sales numbers out on friday.
recently, though, import numbers, along with hong kong retail sales and disappointing results from prada and other luxury brands all point to weakness. in fact, in an effort to boost growth activity, china announced new plans, cutting the lending rate to banks and businesses and borrowers. that could take a while to work. and in the meantime, some american consumer giants could feel the pinch. consumer edge research found that consumer staples companies are among those in the cross-hairs. of that group, procter & gamble is the most exposed to the chinese consumer slow down with 8% of total sales coming from china. it's followed by anheuser busch at 7% and coke cola. general mills, pepsico and the hershey company all get 2% of total sales from china. it may not sound like much, but in a world where growth is hard to come by, that could hurt the overall numbers and performance. at least in the short term.
longer term, the outlook still looks bright. >> if you looked at the most recent cpi report for may, for example, the cost of getting the plumber to come into your home in china is going up 7.3% in year ago terms. so that's a considerable rate of increase in wages for middle-skilled workers in china. and that should was through into higher consumer spending for mass market goods. >> reporter: china is the world's second largest economy, and its consumer considered the holy grail for businesses around the world. that's why they have been pouring in recent years into the country with the hope of fast growth and big spending. but for now, it could prove to be a headache, and a headwind in next quarter earnings reports. luckily, economists say it is just temporary. for "nightly business report," i'm sara eisen. traffic snarled in europe, all because of a car service here in the u.s. we'll explain why, and what it might mean for uber's prospect as a public company.
in capital cities across europe, horns were blaring, people were protesting, and traffic slowed to a crawl, all to show their disdain for a car-sharing service. from london to berlin, taxi drivers are venting their anger against uber. the privately held startup, which has recently been valued around $18 billion, allows users to book a taxi using a smartphone. and as this new up and comer tries to change the way the industry works, it's not going over well with taxi and limousine drivers. steph stephan pedrazi has the story. >> reporter: it's the second time they're blocking the streets in order to protest
against the competition from private companies, like uber. they believe it's an unfair competition as they're not facing the same rules. taxi drivers must pay a license of 300,000 it is, while private companies only pay a small registration fee every year. the french government promised to regulate the sector, but it's not really planning to address the core problem, which is the lack of taxis in the french capital. over here, it's not unusual on weekends to wait for up to one hour in order to get a taxi. but still, the majority of french people believe that taxi drivers are right to take it to the streets. according to a recent survey, 56% of them think that taxi drivers are right to go on strike. not surprising, after all, in a country where competition is a key word and where strike is almost a national sport. in paris for "nightly business report," i'm stephan pedrazi. >> the protests have actually been good for business. the company said it saw an 850%
jump in app downloads compared to last wednesday. so how will all of this hoopla play out for uber, both financially and legally? let's get some perspectives from our experts. roger mac that me, co funder of elevation partners. welcome, gentlemen, both of you. mr. singer, as i understand it, and i have some sympathy with the taxi and limousine drivers, who are subject in many cities around the world and in this country to regulations and requirements, that they would object to this upstart, a disrupter, coming in. and uber's answer, i am told in part is that we're not really, really legally a car service. we're a match maker, putting together people who want a car and somebody who has a car. is that a legal fiction, a fig leaf, or what? >> that's been their defense so far. they have claimed they're just a filter, match maker, arranger, not a private car company, not a private transportation service. but if you look across the
country, a lot of states and a lot of municipalities have opined whether uber is legal or illegal. new york, massachusetts, california. initially, they issued cease and desist letters to the company and tried to preclude them from operating and then after public outcry, they reversed course. then again, municipalities like austin and miami, who have said, you know what, this is illegal. and this violates a variety of different regulations, both in the state and city level. so you know, it's interesting. there's no unanimity yet. but the public outcry is so extreme in favor of uber that i think eventually there's going to be unanimity and uber is going to be allowed to enter all jurisdictions. >> roger, let me ask you, as an entrepreneur, venture capitalist who has invested in so many silicon valley companies, you know, why -- why is -- what's wrong with being a free market disrupter here? and what comes to mind for me is fedex taking on the post office. napster taking on the music
industry. in the end, is uber going to prevail? >> i think so. and i think for precisely the reasons that the other guest was just speaking about. that the service really works. and in many cases, at least in the united states, they really are serving as a match maker for existing limousine drivers and existing taxi drivers. it's doing a much better job of helping them find fares quickly than they were able to do under the old systems. i think the real challenge for investors in looking at uber is what is it worth. we've obviously got a stake in the ground placed by fidelity and others at $18 billion, which is a breath taking number, no matter how -- >> what do you think? >> i believe that -- well, you know, i don't think it's the number will work if the company remains a reservation system only. but i think their market opportunity is gigantic in the following context. we have something developing in the united states, and i think around the world called the sharing economy, where increasingly, consumers are choosing to live in cities, and
instead of borrowing a lot of money to buy cars and to buy homes, they are using things on a pay as you go basis, effectively doing what businesses have been doing for 30 years. i think that is a change that is fundamental and is going to last a long time. and uber is one of the core players there. so to me, if i were the ceo of uber or its competitor, lift, i would be taking this capital, the billions of dollars they're able to raise at essentially no cost, and i would go to general motors or to mercedes benz and buy a billion dollars worth of cars at a huge discount and become the primary owner of cars. in the long run, people will want to take their iphone and rent an hour or two at a time. and uber can be that player, and if their cost of capital, they and left have an open opportunity to make that work and i know that that's not -- owning capital goods is not a popular thing. but i know wall street is going to love it. i'm with your other guest. i think consumers have decided
that uber and its competitors are a better idea. >> paying for the convenience. john, i don't know whether you were able to see the faint smile that was on roger's face as he contemplated the possibilities here. my question for you is, if i'm uber, what is my ultimate legal liability if i am involved in an accident, and with one of their riders, or something bad happens on a trip here? they're going to say, not me. i just put you two together. that was a private compact contract between you and this guy. i don't know in birmingham or austin or london. >> they've already said that. i mean, there's been several wrongful death cases. there was one in california, where an uber driver, who was using the app at the time, had run over a family and had killed a small child. and, of course, there's been a wrongful death suit then filed. and uber said, well, you know, these people -- these drivers are not employees of the company. that is true. at the same time, while they may
be technically independent contractors, it seems to me to be a very quasi employee/employer relationship. there's going to be -- there is a tremendous proliferation of the service right now. that means there is going to be a tremendous increase in suits against the company. because things are going to happen. accidents occur. criminal activities occur by the drivers. and the company i think is not going to be able at the end of the day to shirk liability. i think that's going to be -- not the class actions they're facing about tips. but i think the biggest liability area for them is going to be in the traditional employer/employee relationship. and whether or not they're libel for their drivers' acts. >> so you're in favor of this uber business model. but let's say the company loses some of these lawsuits, and has, you know, big legal fees that they have to pay. how much does that risk -- this business model? >> well, the way i would characterize it, i think jonathan is absolutely right. they're going to have to accept that liability is part of the business. and frankly, because the convenience is so great,
consumers are showing a clear preference to pay a premium to uber. uber is not a deep discount product. it's a product with premiums associated because convenience is so high. there is plenty of money in the system to pay all of the costs of those things. i think they simply need to, if you will, man up, recognize that it's a cost of doing business. i think the -- the reason i'm excited, three years ago when they got started, it wasn't obvious they could get big enough to overwhelm the civic opposition. they have clearly done that in the united states, they seem to be doing it in europe. and to my mind, the core thing now is to convert from this very thinly veiled reservation model. to recognize they're a transportation company and a delivery company and that's a huge opportunity with big margins. >> and just for the record, roger accident you have no stake in that company, correct? >> none at all. i wish i had one from about a year or two ago. i would be looking pretty good today. >> and finally, john, have you ever used it? >> i use it all of the time. i think it's a fantastic service in new york city, of course,
where we live. there's nothing better. it's quick. it's reliable. and i think it's a great company. i to think there's going to be a myriad of legal issues. >> it's got everybody talking. roger mcnamee and john singer, we appreciate your participation, as well. we have positive results from h & r block. shares of the tax preparer popped after posting better than expected fourth quarter profits. it was helped by an increase in online business and higher prices for services. also, a late start to tax season helped pull revenue into its latest quarter. the stock rose more than 4.5% to $32.15. caterpillar is upping its quarterly dividend by 17% to 70 cents a share. the machinery maker will pay at the end of july. despite the move, selling a fraction to $108.69. shares tumbled on news of a food and drug administration decision about the company's obesity drug. regulators are delaying their
approval for the weight loss treatment for three months, in order to consider post marketing obligations and safety monitoring. the stock fell more than 14.5% to $5.81. and the european union has launched an investigation into the tax relationships apple and starbucks have with some european companies. the probe will address whether or not the companies dodged any taxes and violated tax laws. despite that shares of starbucks up a fraction today, $74.80 the close. apple, though, off a bit to $93.86. lululemon's founder, chip wilson, turned on the company's board today. wilson announced he voted not to reelect a chairman and one other director. despite wilson's opposition, the retailer voted for both re-elections. lululemon down today, 2.5% at 44.30 it is. coming up, ready to renovate, now there is a new way to view and plan your home improvement before you buy.
applications for home mortgages jumped more than 10% last week. the weekly mortgage bankers association index, which includes both refinancing and home purchase demand hit its highest level since january, even as mortgage rates went up a little. and finally tonight, renovating your bathroom, hoping the end result is the dream room you wanted and not a costly nightmare. now one retailer is rolling out a new virtual technology it hopes will change the whole process. dia diana olick has more.
>> reporter: we have been here before. deep in construction, hoping that everything we chose for our home renovation project looks the way we want it to when all the dust has settled. americans spent $119 billion on home remodeling last year, and that number is expected to rise 3.6% this year. and all we have to go on are plans, pictures of fixtures and paint swatches. well, what if we could can see it all, all finished, before one hammer even hit a nail? deep inside a lowe's warehouse laboratory, kyle nell is designing a virtual bathroom. >> we'll drop in a toilet here, pretty critical. >> reporter: from the fixtures to the finishings, he's mapping the floor plan, choosing from thousands of lowe's products, and placing those products in the room. then, thanks to a brand-new technology, he will walk through it all in virtual reality. >> the haller room is an augm t augmented reality room. we're populated this augmented reality room with real lowe's
products. >> reporter: it's not a hologram but a holoroom you see through the eyes of an ipad. >> so you can full experience in an intuitive way, walking around and looking around and feeling what these objects that you could possibly buy would be like inside of your own space. >> reporter: and if you don't like it, you move it, with no heavy lifting. >> say i don't like the vanity here. i can just move it this way and continue to move it around the room. >> reporter: it takes a lot of the risk and stress out of renovation. >> when we started this project, we called it the marriage-saver. >> once the customer is satisfied, they can then download the room and take it home, along with, of course, a list of all the lowe's products they might like to buy. but don't go rushing to your lowe's stores just yet. they've going to be rolling this out first in canada, testing it, and then bringing it to the u.s. they're partnering with a company called sci-fi futures, working to bring all this into the virtual world. for "nightly business report," i'm diana olick in washington.
>> you can read more about virtual renovations on our website, ndr.com. we both laughed when they said -- >> the marriage saver. >> how many fights have you had? >> if i never see another paint swatch again, it would be great. >> i know the feeling. that's "nightly business report" for tonight. thanks so much for watching. i'm susie gharib. >> and i'm tyler mathisen. fabric samples, too. have a great evening, everybody. we'll see you tomorrow.
tonight on "quest" -- from software to biotechnology, california's economy is increasingly driven by innovation. but when it comes to science education, the golden state's public schools languish near the bottom of the national rankings. join "quest" tonight for a half-hour special on california's science education struggles. meet top teachers and learn about some of the innovative programs aimed at turning around our poor science grades. major funding for "quest" is provided by -- the national sciefo